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Learning the London Hotel Lingo

September 22, 2002|Carolyn McGuire

If a room is not "en suite" (containing a bathroom inside), it is called a "basic" room, which means that guests share a bath and toilet facilities down the hall. We focused on places that had facilities inside the room. A few places had some rooms that were "basic."

Either continental or English breakfast is offered. Continental might be a buffet (cereal, juice, fruit, toast, tea and coffee). An English breakfast can mean eggs, bacon or sausages, tomatoes, baked beans and tea or coffee.

Because these are small places, they may not have a lobby or a common sitting room. There might not be a hotel staffer on duty after midnight (or earlier), so you may be given a key to let yourself in. Air-conditioning is a rarity. Some hotels do not allow smoking.

Elevators are generally rare, so when booking remember the European way of counting floors: Rooms designated as "first floor" are really on the first floor above ground level--that is, the second floor--and so on.

Several of these hotels offer little more than soap in the bathrooms. Remember to take your own shampoo and other toiletries. Ask about reduced rates for multiple-night stays and "special rates." Ask if the price quoted is the best they can do. Be aware that the rate shown on a Web site may not be the lowest.

Finally, read cancellation policies closely. Some hotels charge a fee regardless of when you cancel. And some charge a transaction fee for using a credit card.

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